Goddamn You! Your kung fu is lacking...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Golden Triangle (1975)

Background - HKMDB indicates that there are two films of this name prooduced in the same year.  One starts Lo Lieh and Tien Feng, and is filmed in Thailand.  This one features Yasuaki Kurata, Han Ying-Chieh and Nik Cheung.  It is a Hong Kong production, filmed in the Philippines.  The copy I watched seems to be ripped from a Dutch VHS.  It had Dutch subtitles throughout.  At a guess, I'd say that the Dutch subs are translations of the English dub.

Story - Kurata plays a booze-loving cop who cocks up during a shoot out with some drug scummers.  He accidently shoots one of his own men, and gets kicked out of the force.  He is spotted in a bar by Han Ying-Chieh, the head honcho of the regional drug empire.  He saves Kurata from a kicking and enrolls him in his team.  

Han Ying-Chieh's bossman

Meanwhile, the authorities have sent a LONE MAN into the drug nest, and he's their ONLY HOPE, according to the amusing dub.  Nik Cheung tries to score some drugs from Han Ying's men, but gets rumbled, and tries to flee with an unhappy girl who longs to escape from their clutches.  Later, Han Ying is arranging a deal with an influential buyer.  Cheung sneaks into the compound and tries to steal documentary proof.  Unfortunately, he loses possession of it, and flees empty-handed.  

In an extraordinary scene, he approaches Kurata and other gang members at a football kickabout.  He challenges Kurata to a penalty kick competition.  

Gentlemen, you look RIDICULOUS

Despite winning, he is attacked then hunted on motorbike through the fields and streets.  It's a weird, yet compelling, scene, and totally different to what I'm used to.

Motorbikes in a kung fu film?  Garlic Bread?

Furious with this meddling rozzer, Han Ying orders Kurata to take out Cheung, and he does so at a massage parlour.  The lass is appalled by this.  She is fond of Kurata, but Cheung had tried to help her escape.  Kurata lures her away to explain his actions, where he is attacked by Cheung, who survived the previous knife attack.  Cheung stabs Kurata, but then reveals that they are, in fact, in cahoots, and part of a police operation to infiltrate the drug gang.      

Don't worry folks, he's not dead.  But he is (nearly) bollock-naked.

The final battle sees Kurata and Cheung take on Han Ying's gang.  After a shootout/fight in a warehouse during the drug exchange with the buyer, they chase the drug lord through fields and over a river, where a lobbed explosive blows up the bridge.  

FAIL.  That won't stop our heroes!

Undaunted, the intrepid fighters tear off their tops and run topless to a cave, where Han Ying is hiding.  Cue a fight in an odd shrine, snakes on the floor, and the final apprehension of the boss.  He is dragged into a helicopter, leaving Kurata to run into the arms of his woman.

'Ave it

Impressions - There were many things I enjoyed about this film.  Despite the fact that I had to watch it in three parts, it still held my attention, and retained a level of pace and involvement.  This may have been due to its level of simplicity, but I was thankful for it in the end.  The punch and block work was solid.  Cheung and Kurata put on a decent show, as two very different physiques put on a nice balance of styles.

Certain things I found hilarious.  Not in a mocking way, but in a warm, appreciative manner, for film-making long gone.  Straight away, in the opening shootout, the amount of smoke flying off guns tickled me:

That's from a hand gun

Grab a hose, boy, and douse this mutha

Additionally, the wardrobe department caused a few laughs.  The topless fights were in keeping with the genre, but the fight in the massage parlour, with only a towel hiding Cheung's modesty, was bare fighting at its best.  Reserved for the biggest laugh has to be those ludicrous jumpsuits the drug gang played football in.  It's football, guys.  A strip and a pair of shorts.  It isn't the Space Year 2409.

The dub was decent enough, but the Dutch subtitles provided another source of mirth.  I shouldn't laugh at this really.  But I did.  I make no apologies but, dammit, it just kept cropping up:


At the other end of the scale, in one vile scene Kurata shoots two strung up piglets for a laugh.   A pointless scene, which left the customary animal-cruelty bad taste I suffer whenever I see this kind of crap.  Thank God we've moved on.

On the whole, though, it's an interesting little diversion.  I've barely watched any films with a modern setting, and for the most part this is a decent little basher with nice action and a strong pace.